Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The old, feeble, women, and young of the Western Turks had long ago retreated to the rear, entering the cities in the Great Tang's interior. Young Master Qingyang and Li Junxian were perhaps concerned that the Western Turkic Khaganate had lost so many soldiers that it could defect to Dalon Trinling.
But for Barshad and the rest of the Western Turkic Khaganate, including the father he had deposed, the moment the cold wave descended, they had understood that the Western Turkic Khaganate needed to pay a price to get through this calamity.
Although the Western Turks had lost many soldiers, at the very least, it had ensured the survival of their old, weak, women, and young. Now that the rear had been taken care of, they no longer cared about whether they lived or died.
"My apologies. We were forced into this situation. After all, behind us is the entire Great Tang. We have to be cautious!
"Once this battle is over and we have been proved wrong, we will personally make a humble apology and offer compensation to Your Majesty and the entire Western Turkic Khaganate. In the future, the Great Tang will not mistreat the Western Turkic Khaganate and all the warriors who sacrificed their lives in this battle!" Young Master Qingyang solemnly said.
Barshad merely sighed, not taking the words to heart.
In truth, before this, whether it was him, Young Master Qingyang, or Li Junxian, they had all sensed this tension in the air. Barshad had asked himself what he would do if he were in the same position, and he realized that he would probably feel the same suspicion.
For some things, remaining silent and not speaking about them would just make the situation worse and worse. In comparison, openly talking about it and neutralizing any future misunderstandings was much better.
"In the end, all we can do is hold down the enemy! Everything else depends on how His Highness does in Youzhou!" Barshad said.
Everyone grew quiet. Though the battle at the City of Steel was intense, it was probably far below the level of the war at Youzhou.
Wang Chong's war was the key one.
In addition, the City of Steel had a formation beneath it that was operating under a heavy load. In another ten-some days, all the energy sources would be consumed. If Wang Chong had not won the war in Youzhou by then, the City of Steel would fall.
In this battle, they had all prepared themselves for the worst-case scenario. It was just that none of them was talking about it.
Your Highness, it all depends on you!
The same thought passed through the minds of all three of them.
At the frontline steel fortress in the northeast, Wang Chong was in an equally grim situation.
On the northern wall, Wang Chong, Zhangchou Jianqiong, Zhang Shougui, and Wang Zhongsi stood in a row. Wang Chong was in the center with the others flanking him.
From the walls, the snowy mist appeared like surging waves. It was impossible to see anything past several steps, and everything was blank white. In this weather, it was very easy to get lost.
But all of them simply stood there as if they were waiting for something.
"How much longer?" Zhangchou Jianqiong suddenly said as he looked northward.
"It should be soon!" Abusi replied.
Their words were utterly baffling, but nobody asked any questions. It was as if they all understood what was going on.
All of them suddenly heard Wang Chong's voice, and they all looked northward.
At first glance, there was nothing at all except the whiteness of the storm, but soon, they began to hear neighs through the storm. These neighs were different from those of other warhorses, tinged with an indescribable sense of decay.
Though the snowstorm blinded them, they were all Great Generals possessing astounding cultivation. Some snow and wind could not keep out their senses.
Hooves thundered, and in the depths of the snowstorm, the group 'saw' a group of Yeluohe charging toward the steel fortress in a single row, their rusted armor and crimson, emotionless eyes standing out starkly in the snow.
The heavy thundering of hooves got closer and closer to the fortress. These Yeluohe moved with incredible speed through the snowstorm like fish in water, apparently completely unaffected by the frigid weather.
"Do you see?"
Wang Chong's expression was calm, and there was a profound tone to his voice.
Wang Zhongsi nodded and said, "Mm, compared to the first day, the number of Yeluohe coming to observe us has increased by ten times, reaching nearly one hundred people. This should be the number of men they have in each fighting group."
"Besides the Yeluohe, the number of alliance soldiers with them has also increased, already seventy to eighty. It appears that, just like the Yeluohe, these seventy to eighty men are also unaffected by the cold weather. If my guess is right, they must be testing a new method, borrowing the Yeluohe's power so that the alliance soldiers can move freely through the snowstorm," Zhang Shougui commented.
Under the Sage Emperor, Wang Zhongsi and Zhang Shougui had been the empire's leading generals. Though they were both important subjects of the empire, their career tracks had been like two parallel lines and rarely met. This had more to do with Zhang Shougui than Wang Zhongsi. He was simply too proud and was unwilling to yield to Wang Zhongsi, though he normally kept this to himself.
Even when Zhang Shougui returned to the capital to make his reports, he would rarely meet with Wang Zhongsi, and the number of the times they had met could be counted with one's fingers.
But now, they stood to Wang Chong's left and right and were working for the same cause. Probably not even the Sage Emperor had imagined that this was possible, and it was something only Wang Chong was capable of.
Zhangchou Jianqiong noticed something and gravely said, "The alliance is training its soldiers with this method. If my guess is right, once they familiarize themselves with this method, they'll start their attack!"
The situation was not yet at a state of absolute peril. While the Yeluohe were strong and could accelerate to terrifying speeds in their charge, warhorses were useless against the high walls. Not even the most formidable horse could fly onto a wall.
And if the Yeluohe gave up on their horses and climbed the walls, their threat level was at least halved. This was one of the reasons the alliance had yet to attack.
But once the alliance became accustomed to fighting alongside the Yeluohe and could use their power to resist the cold, they could use the snowstorm to attack the fortress.
"That's not the only thing I'm worried about. I don't know what these Yeluohe are made of, and all of you saw what happened in the previous battle. The ballista army severed the legs of three thousand Yeluohe warhorses, but after the battle, they were able to swiftly reattach the legs as if they had never been injured. These aren't things that living beings can do!" Tongluo Great General Abusi said, his brows deeply furrowed and his heart heavy.
Abusi was speaking of that battle that had taken place ten-some days ago. He had seen with his own eyes the severed legs of the horses being magnetically drawn over and linking to the fallen Yeluohe warhorses, upon which they quickly got up, appearing completely uninjured. At the time, Abusi had been stunned.
The Tongluo cherished their warhorses, and even though they had left the Turkic steppe, the Tongluo had never lost their ability to raise horses. Each Tongluo was a superb horse trainer and had a keen understanding of them. They could even tell through the posture and balance of a horse the condition of their hooves and the development of their bones.
"Given the abilities they've displayed, until we find a way to actually counter them, anything we do will have very little effect," Abusi sternly said.
Each person on the wall turned pensive.
They were all formidable Great Generals of the human world, and any one of them was capable of holding their own on the battlefield. But that was only true in wars between humans. This did not apply to the several tens of thousands of Yeluohe before them.
If even the ballista army was ineffective against this army, it meant that the Great Tang did not have any particular counter against the Yeluohe.
Amidst this somber mood, with a sharp cry, an eagle penetrated through the snowstorm, causing all of them to look up.
Though the clouds and snow were thick, the Psychic Energies of Wang Chong and the others were able to quickly sense several eagles circling high up in the air.
In this extremely cold weather, there were no birds to speak of, so these circling eagles were particularly obvious.
"How was it?" Wang Chong said, his head still looking up.
"There are still around twenty-one thousand Yeluohe left." Old Eagle's familiar voice came from behind him. "The alliance camp is heavily guarded, and they are in the middle of preparing for battle. In addition, we have found evidence that large numbers of soldiers have been training on the eastern and western sides of the alliance camp."
His cultivation was far inferior to the likes of Wang Chong's or Wang Zhongsi's, so he couldn't see the eagles. But through the tempo and length of the cries, he could understand the information the eagles conveyed.
This was a special messaging system that Old Eagle had developed for use with his birds.
With the arrival of the Great Ice Age, many of the birds that had normally flown through the blue skies had frozen to death. At this time, transmitting information became extremely difficult. Wang Chong was currently guarding the fortress, so he had to rely on Old Eagle's trained birds to gather intelligence.
Old Eagle had long ago developed a complete system for training birds, and with the aid of various great clans, he had been able to establish several dozen bird-catching teams that could catch special birds that he could use for breeding.